There has been burgeoning consternation in certain quarters of Jamaica and the Diaspora about what is seen as the frequency of the Prime Minister’s overseas travels. I am not sure about the laws which govern transparency of Government actions, least of all the actions of the country’s chief executive. I would not be surprised if there really is no way to tell, if the way they handle the Contractor General’s requests and other queries on Governmental irregularities are anything to go by. Notwithstanding the Government has released a figure of J$50 million, suggesting that that number represents the cost of the Prime Minister’s travels. Now let me say I have seen no information which refutes these numbers but calculating the $50 million Jamaican Dollars at the rate of J$105 TO US $1, it amounts to just over US476’000 .
I find it incredulous that all her travels crisscrossing the globe from Africa to Asia, to Europe with delegations only amounted to US$476’000 . No one is making the argument that the Nation’s chief executive should not travel outside the country. The nature of the job demands that the Prime Minister travel abroad. What people are concerned about are whether the trips are absolutely beneficial to the country in these economic crunch times, and the disrespectful silence of the Prime Minister , who refuses to answer questions from the Jamaican press on these and other issues. As is to be expected there are no shortage of well-placed political hacks who are quick to explain that the numbers are not astronomical and that the PM must travel to seek economic opportunities for the country. That is the reason we must be rather wary of the figures they make available. It is rather too convenient and modest, juxtapose that with the chorus of support for Portia’s travels and it begs serious scrutiny.
The real concern emanating from this issue, at least for me, is that they fundamentally believe it is good economic policy to borrow money from the Chinese and everyone else who will reward their grovelling, then spend it on flights of fancy, [pun intended] supposedly seeking investment opportunities. People keep asking about a “growth plan” for the country which I suppose would make the immense austerity on the people…… say worthwhile. Unfortunately if you take a look at socialist doctrine there is nothing in there which speaks to economic prosperity. Now these Clowns who run the Govt, aren’t real Socialists, they are waggonists. With that said, we know they never had any plan for governance when they were returned to power only four years after losing office after an unprecedented 18 1/2 years in power. Socialism is about wealth re-distribution, generally to their cronies and friends. It has nothing to do with economic empowerment of the masses. Travelling abroad in the hope of persuading companies to invest in Jamaica will produce naught, when the companies already there are rapidly closing. Crime, Corruption, Extortion, High energy costs, high-taxes, Government bureaucracy, and a host of other business-busting vices are dealing a death-blow to the country’s economic life. Companies look for the most business-friendly places to operate. Jamaica long ceased being a business-friendly place. The varying entities which extort businesses, Government, Unions, un-elected criminals, are more than enough to frighten potential investors. People who run successful businesses are generally smart people. The same cannot be said for many politicians.